MLB Cigar Ventures will have a pair of new cigar lines at this year’s IPCPR Convention & Trade Show; the first of which is the Imperia Islero, an extension to the company’s core line and has been pushed back a bit from its originally scheduled April release, while the second draws on a name that will likely be more familiar to pipe smokers and Bostonians.
This summer, Mike Bellody will launch the David P. Ehrlich brand, named for a historic pipe and tobacco manufacturer as well as prominent Boston retailer. For Bellody, the opportunity to use the Ehrlich name was one that seemed to come together all too perfectly.
David P. Ehrlich began working in the pipe business in 1881 under the tutelage of a man named Ferdinand Abraham, who in 1868 opened a pipe and tobacco shop in Boston. Ehrlich would eventually marry Abraham’s daughter and take over the now family business renaming it eponymously along the way. His retail store became a fixture in Boston until its closure around 2011, and it is where Bellody himself began smoking cigars. For many years it boasted of being the second-oldest continuously operating tobacconist in the United States.
The Ehrlich family eventually sold the business to another family nearly 40 years ago, the Macdonalds, which today includes Barry Macdonald, the national sales manager for Bellody’s MLB Cigar Ventures. Macdonald had been both sales manager and general manager for the David P. Ehrlich Company, and provided the immediate connection to the name that Bellody needed to develop the idea.
During the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, MLB Cigar Ventures’ booth was located conveniently close to that of E.P. Carrillo, which sparked yet another connection for the project. Barry’s father, Paul, who was managing the Ehrlich retail shop in the early 1990s, had been one of the first retailers in the country to bring in an upstart new brand called La Gloria Cubana, made by none other than Ernesto Perez-Carrillo.
When approached with the idea of making the cigar at Tabacalera La Alianza, Bellody said Perez-Carrillo was more than receptive, and the project began to accelerate towards completion.
The first blend, the David P. Ehrlich Tremont, gets its name from the street in Boston which Ehrlich’s is most closely associated with, and is a major thoroughfare in the city. Perez-Carrillo, Bellody and Macdonald decided on an Ecuadorian sumatra wrapper that is being placed over a Nicaraguan binder from Estelí, with a filler blend that is primarily Nicaraguan tobacco from Estelí and Condega, but also has some viso from La Canela in the Dominican Republic to provide sweetness and balance. Bellody calls is a medium to full bodied smoke, flavorful but not overpowering.
Five sizes are being released this summer, a Corona (5 1/2 x 44), Robusto (5 x 52), Toro (6 x 50), Churchill (7 x 47) and Gordo (6 x 60), each packed 20 to a box. Pricing is still being finalized, but Bellody said he expects individual cigars to sell for between $8 and $11 with shipping to begin immediately following the show, which would get cigars on retail shelves by the end of July or early August.
Bellody is using a slightly modified version of the original Ehrlich logo for the line, replacing the pipe in the man’s hand with a cigar. He added that while the bands will primarily feature the Ehrlich logo, they will also carry the MLB Cigar Ventures logo on the back.
He adds that Tremont is the first of several blends that he has planned for the David P. Ehrlich brand, noting that the company will be celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2018, a perfect occasion for a celebratory cigar.
As for Bellody’s other previously announced release, the Imperia Aventador, he is planning for that to be released closer to the end of 2016.